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  1. #1
    Chuck Swan's Avatar
    Chuck Swan Guest

    Default Extension Cord in the Attic

    A few weeks ago I inspected a home where there are multiple florescent lights in the garage ceiling, each of which was routed from the light for a few inches under the ceiling, then through a hole in the drywall and plugged into a receptacle in the attic. I called it out as being improperly wired and recommended corrections - expecting that they would wire from the light with Romex to the junction box. Upon return for a reinspect, they moved the lights, came straight up from the light through the drywall and back into the receptacle. I assume the cord/plug was supplied with the light. The cord is marked 18AWGX3C Type SJT. Considering that this type of cord is designed for extension cords, Is this an acceptable method of connecting the lights or does it need to be re-wired with Romex? Thanks for your help.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    My point of view is that the light fixtures are permanent, screwed to the ceiling. Therefore the wiring should also be permanent. Those power cords are not designed to be stapled to the framing, so they can't be used as permanent wiring, and they are not accessible, so they can't be monitored. Standard fluorescent light fixtures come without a cord. I suspect the cords were added.

    You may have to get final word from the local authority.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    1,339

    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Swan View Post
    , Is this an acceptable method of connecting the lights or does it need to be re-wired....

    Yes, it needs to be repaired. Re-routing the wrong wiring, or cord, is not a "fix".

    Dom.


  4. #4
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    Mar 2011
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    My suggestions:

    Get the model number of the lamps and look them up. If they show the cord connected to the light, then check for its installation instructions.

    Second, I do not believe that this cord, or more exactly the sheath is listed for use in an attic. The temperature swings may adversely effect the life of the sheath.

    If I had my code book handy I could verify that, but I do not have it at my fingertips.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Couple of thoughts here Chuck. You didn't say if the cords were original to the lights. If they were then I'd probably would let it slide. It goes back to the fact that no house is perfect - but if things are pretty close............

    If the cords are in fact extension cords then my reply would be that they're not intended for permanent applications and should be corrected.

    As a rule I don't spend time (or get paid to do that) to look up specs on various components. My report says get a qualified fellow in to evaluate and correct as necessary. If they didn't, then they didn't follow my advice and I'm done with it. If they did and he says it's (now) right then I'm also done.

    Generally I don't like to get into bickering with contractors - I've gotten tired of (and also am not paid to) educating them. If they guy is "supposedly" knowledgeable I won't put up a fuss. If it's BillieBob I'll stand my ground. In either case I do not revise my report.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  6. #6
    Al Neuman's Avatar
    Al Neuman Guest

    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    400.8 Uses Not Permitted.
    Unless specifically permitted in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the
    following:
    (1) As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure

    (2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings,
    suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors

    (3) Where run through doorways, windows, or similar
    openings
    (4) Where attached to building surfaces


    ...Read (2)


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Not allowed.

    Apparently whoever is doing the work is completely unqualified - they need to hire a real electrician.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Michael Simpson's Avatar
    Michael Simpson Guest

    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    A viable solution would have been to put the plug into the ceiling so that the cord would be exposed to the interior of the room...

    Not alowed to have the service cord hidden...


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Seems like the "repair" was a diy job and they clearly didn't understand what you wanted to see and have done. sometimes you have to point out what you are talking about that needs to be done and if they don't understand tell them to get a licenced contractor or sparkie in to do it for them properly.


  10. #10
    Timothy M. Barr's Avatar
    Timothy M. Barr Guest

    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    If I am reaing this right cords still go threw the ceiling. Just plain stupid What would you do is if had to unplug it in a hurry? Crawl up in the attic I don't think so. Still wrong in my book. I would write it up as wrong again
    that is my two cents worth


  11. #11
    Harry Turner's Avatar
    Harry Turner Guest

    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Swan View Post
    A few weeks ago I inspected a home where there are multiple florescent lights in the garage ceiling, each of which was routed from the light for a few inches under the ceiling, then through a hole in the drywall and plugged into a receptacle in the attic. I called it out as being improperly wired and recommended corrections - expecting that they would wire from the light with Romex to the junction box. Upon return for a reinspect, they moved the lights, came straight up from the light through the drywall and back into the receptacle. I assume the cord/plug was supplied with the light. The cord is marked 18AWGX3C Type SJT. Considering that this type of cord is designed for extension cords, Is this an acceptable method of connecting the lights or does it need to be re-wired with Romex? Thanks for your help.
    The NEC requires junction boxes that are used to be readily accessible to the living space where the draw is being utilized. This is certainly incorrect, and a good catch. There are a ton of scenarios where something could go wrong. If the place is currently habitated, I would call the residents and urge them to fix this right away. With an accessible receptacle in the garage and then extension cords going to a garage light, it would be acceptable so long as the draw on the light didn't exceed the "rated" amperage of the line being used.


  12. #12
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    Hercules, CA
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    All good comments. In addition, imagine how hot the cords will get when they cover them with insulation...

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Turner View Post
    The NEC requires junction boxes that are used to be readily accessible to the living space where the draw is being utilized.
    It does? Please show me that section.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Also, the open holes in the ceiling are a breach in the fire stop. did they seal the other side?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    I think what Harry was trying to say or means that Junction boxes must be accessible, but not in the same room that the draw is in. this is so if servicing is needed it can be done with out the x ray vision to find out where the box is located. it can be in the same room just doesn't have to be.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Turner View Post
    The NEC requires junction boxes that are used to be readily accessible to the living space where the draw is being utilized.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Hetner View Post
    I think what Harry was trying to say or means that Junction boxes must be accessible,
    I believe you will find that we are all in agreement that the boxes must be "accessible", but do not agree with ...

    but not in the same room that the draw is in.
    ... as Harry *specifically* stated "accessible to the living space where the draw is being utilized", which is the exact opposite of what you are saying.

    By the way, Harry also said "readily" before "accessible", as in "readily accessible" and boxes are not required to be "readily accessible", just accessible.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    LOL Jerry, thanks for the correction. was just trying to get the junction box issue pointed in the right direction. )


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Hetner View Post
    just trying to get the junction box issue pointed in the right direction. )
    Facing down into the room.

    That's the "right direction".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Extension Cord in the Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Neuman View Post
    400.8 Uses Not Permitted.
    Unless specifically permitted in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the
    following:
    (1) As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure

    (2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings,
    suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors

    (3) Where run through doorways, windows, or similar
    openings
    (4) Where attached to building surfaces


    ...Read (2)
    Just a question for discussion. Is a drywall ceiling classified as structural?

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

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